I have always been one to believe that you should never bite off more than you can chew. This day in age, we are more focused on how busy we are, how much we have to do -- and this is how others determine the success of a person. Whatever happened to focusing on one project at a time?
Years ago when I worked outside of the home, I had a coworker who would take on various projects at a time. Her theory was that if management saw she was taking on as much as they asked her to, she would soon be promoted. Yes the projects would get completed, but she never gave it her all. Those projects were never given the full attention they deserved, and frankly, while the work was completed, it was not the best. You may be wondering if she ever got promoted, the answer is no.
I know it is an easy trap to fall into – we relate being busy with being productive. So take a step back. Is all that activity moving you forward in your career? Are you taking on more than you can handle to look more successful?
I believe that many people who stay busy do truly believe that they are being productive. However, what have they produced? If you spend your entire day taking calls, reading emails, skimming through the internet or even working on various projects and have not completed anything by the end of your work day, this is not productive.
So what can you do to focus on productivity?
Have a Clear Direction: If you have long- and short-term goals in mind, write them out. If you are keeping busy with no direction, I call that busywork – not actual productivity. So know what it is you need to focus your time on and finish it through.
Don’t be Afraid to Say No: If you have too much on your plate, say no. Explain that you don’t have the time right now, and perhaps you can take it on at a later time when you have completed your main tasks.
Prioritize: After you have your list written out, go over it and prioritize what needs to get done based on “important” to “least important.”
Track Your Progress: Hold yourself accountable by tracking the progress of your work. If you don’t finish a project on time, determine why it is taking so long. You may find yourself searching the web or checking Facebook a bit too much during the day, and the easy solution is to eliminate what is distracting you.
Are you “keeping busy” or are you being productive? What can you do today to help you focus on your goals and accomplishing them?
About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. Her husband was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the National Guard in 2008. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband of 11 years and two children.
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